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“Trip of a Lifetime!”
Review of Jackalberry Lodge

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Jackalberry Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 November 2013

I could not have asked for more from the Jackalberry lodge. The accommodations were great, the food amazing, and the hospitality extraordinary. And, not only did we see the Big 5 (with the best ranger/tracker team: Willie and Lucas), but we had a blast and felt safe the whole time. I almost cried when we left. Our stay at the lodge was the highlight of a trip of a lifetime!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank GinaM27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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134 - 140 of 281 reviews

Reviewed 29 October 2013

This lodge is amazing and definitely money spent well. Reese and Lucas went up and above to give us unique experience. Thanks to Reese and Lucas for showing/finding the big 5 for us. We also had the ultimate bonus the black rhino, leopard and cheetah kill.The accommodation and food were amazing.We will be back.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Marguerette J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 October 2013

We just returned from an unforgettable trip to SA which included a stay at the Jackalberry Lodge for 3 days of safari rides. Everything at Jackalberry was perfect ! Staff, accommodations, food, and of course the fantastic surroundings including daily visits by various wildlife to the water hole on the property.
If you want a fantastic safari experience, this is the place. Bring your appetite, your camera, and your wonder...all will be satisfied.
Pay attention to the time of year as there is a rainy season and it can be quite cool in the mornings, but rain gear and blankets are provided on the trucks.
Safety is a prime concern for the staff and we never felt unsafe or in any danger - this should not be a concern.
Thanks Jackalberry for a fantastic "Big 5 +" experience.

Room Tip: We stayed in Cabin 6 which is the furthest away from the main lodge, and the most private (except it...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank czechmate68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 October 2013

the staff, accommodations and food were amazing! the game rides, surreal. thanks to willie and lucas for showing/finding the big 5 for us! we wish we could have ended our trip here! this lodge is cozy and they know how to make you feel right at home when you are thousands of miles away! JACKALBERRY LODGE thanks for the unforgettable memories--we will be back for sure!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Jess M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 October 2013

This lodge is situated in a extraordinary game reserve. We experienced some spectacular game viewing and even witnessed a lion kill. The rangers and trackers are outstanding. They were the most adventurous I have experienced: repeatedly walking around on foot in the thickets in search of a leopard to show to their customers (who were at all times safely seated in the jeep). They ultimately found one when they literally stepped on his tail in the dense grass.
The same spirit of risk taking (or is it just sloppiness?) unfortunately extends also into administration and maintenance. When we arrived (2 adults, 2 kids) late in the evening, our reservation (via Expedia) had been lost. It was by chance that one double room was still available because its airconditioning was broken. The hotel staff did their very best in putting in the extra beds and a portable AC, as well as installing an extra mosquito net the next day. This was not done properly, however: in the middle of the night the wooden beam that held the mosquito net came down. This approximately 2 meter long and 15 kg heavy piece of wood fell from 3-4 meters high onto the bed. It was pure luck that it hit just next to my sleeping daughter's head.
We found many mosquitos, several spiders, and even one scorpion in the room. This may be explained by the fact that the room had not been in use.
The pool could not be used as the water was brown and murky, probably due to the water shortage in the dry season.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Karsten B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MichelleBouic, Client Liaison at Jackalberry Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 31 October 2013

Good Day Karsten B

Thank you for taking the time to review our lodge. We are heartened to read that your game viewing experience was extraordinary and trust that those memories will stay with you indefinitely. Regarding the issues mention, we can assure you that all points raised have been forwarded to Lodge Management and a full feedback report received. Considering the nature of this, we would ask if you would be willing to contact us directly to finalise – via reservations@legendlodges.co.za
Karsten, as you can see by the amount of rave reviews received for Jackalberry Lodges, this was an isolated incident and most definitely not the norm. We strive to create a truly Legendary experience for all our guests and apologise that this was not the case for you. We look forward to hearing from you so we may finalise this matter.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 October 2013

On my first trip to South Africa in 2005 I stayed at the Jackalberry Lodge and loved it, and going back to a place after such a long time there's always a risk that it can't live up to that first amazing experience.

We stayed in chalet number 1 this time, a short walk from the main area and with a good view of the bush. Every day we saw different animals walk by, warthogs, zebras, kudus, nyalas and vervet monkeys.

The lodge itself is typical mid-range lodges is South Africa which is incredibly luxerious with a big bed, jacuzzi, indoor and outdoor shower. Meals are served in the main area or around the fire boma style. The main area has a nice view to the watering hole, a swimming pool, a spa added from the last time I was there, comfortable couches and a library with a game viewing map.

The food is really good, and especially when they do a braai around the fire. We had amazing butternut soup, chakalaka, kudu burger, boerwoers, grilled beef and so on. I have gluten allergies and had the best gluten free rolls and pizza I've ever had at Jackalberry, wish I'd asked for the recipe. 6 hours between breakfast and lunch is a bit too long for my taste, but with such a big lunch 5 hours between lunch and dinner is perfect.

We had three nights at Jackalberry Lodge this time and I wish we had a couple of more nights. When you go on safari, there's no gurantees that you will see animals, but it really helps if you have an enthusiastic guide and tracker.

I've been in Thornybush three times, twice at Jackalberry and once at Serondella, and several other places in east and southern Africa, and this was by far the best stay ever. The other guests were very nice which always helps, but the people working there made a huge difference. Colleen and Atasha were always friendly and eager to hear about the game drives, barman Muhammad was very nice and funny, and we all loves Tom's stories from a long career as a ranger.

We had Willie as our ranger and Lucas as our tracker, and we couldn't be happier. We love being on safari, and ticking off the big five isn't the most important thing to us, all the animals are fun to see even though cats are the favourite. Willie gave us time to see impalas and giaffes as well as the bigger animals, and he always made sure that everyone got a good view before we left. I'm a photographer so that amount of consideration is priceless, but everyone really appericated being given the same opportunity to see the animals. Willie and Lucas went up and above to give us unique experiences, following a leopard through the bush at night, getting really close to a pride of lions under a tree and best of all, giving us almost an hour to sit in peace and watch a leopard and her grown cub. I can't say enough how much fun we had, and it's extra fun when your guide and tracker also obviously enjoys it as much as us tourists.

We had a wonderful stay, and we will be back.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank FotoCath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2013

The Jackalberry Lodge greatly exceeded our wildest expectations in every way. We never imagined that such an intimate and luxurious oasis could be found in the bush! It was the epitome of luxury without any pretentiousness.
The facility is beautiful and impeccably maintained. We stayed in room 6 near the back of the property and enjoyed the Jacuzzi tub, rainfall shower, and outdoor shower -- all with views of giraffe, elephants, and other wildlife making their way to the watering hole behind the property. The room was spotless and the housekeeping staff did a wonderful job keeping it that way during our stay. The bar and dining area are open-air and also are very well appointed and maintained, offering views of the pool and the watering hole beyond the fence.
The staff were among the friendliest and most helpful that we have ever encountered. They quickly learned the names of all of the guests and truly made us feel welcome, catering to our every need. There are even spa services available on-site!
Every meal was prepared with great attention to detail and the food was simply fabulous!
Of course, the most important part of the trip is the game drives, and the Jackalberry certainly didn't disappoint. Featuring morning and evening game drives, the rangers and trackers delivered a truly memorable experience. Not only did we see the Big Five and so much more, but our ranger (Tom) and tracker (Themba) managed to provide us with truly unique and intimate experiences, closely witnessing the wildlife in amazing situations and interactions. The opportunities for photographs were truly special, and the rangers pay particular attention to getting the entire group opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime photographs.
We will most definitely be back!

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Aaron M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Jackalberry Lodge

Address: Guernsey Road | Thornybush Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 2128, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range: £539 - £667 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Jackalberry Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Jackalberry Lodge is a small, intimate establishment set deep in the Thornybush Nature Reserve, on the edge of the Kruger National Park. With just 7 rooms, all en-suite and tastefully furnished - you are guaranteed peace and tranquility during your stay. Locally sourced and expertly made meals are served outside under the stars, or pool-side depending on how you feel that day. Morning and evening game drives take you exploring in open vehicles with professional rangers and trackers, as you experience the abundance in wildlife, fauna and flora that that the African bush has to offer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jackalberry Hotel Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Jackalberry Lodge Thornybush Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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